A deal for 150 million rapid coronavirus tests the White House promoted last month as a potential game-changer in battling the pandemic fails to fix the lack of an overarching strategy for a new phase of testing the nation needs to embrace, multiple health experts and state and local officials say.
The Trump administration’s purchase of the new Abbott Laboratories antigen tests, which can detect the virus in 15 minutes, was hailed by White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany as a major development that would help Americans get back to work and school.
But without detailed federal guidance, states and cities remain divided, and some of them stifled, on how to best to use those types of rapid tests and others for the testing technique known as “screening.”
Screening involves routinely testing people whether or not they have symptoms. Because an estimated 40% of coronavirus infections are asymptomatic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the idea is to focus on groups, such as those in nursing homes, schools or higher-risk workplaces, and use point-of-care tests or other techniques to test everyone in those groups and isolate the infected.
Epidemiologists say communities should implement screening to limit outbreaks.
Read more: CNN